Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

One of the biggest investments you can make, in terms of both time and money, is to invest in your own education because there is little doubt that getting a good education now can reap considerable rewards later in life. But investing in an education these days is not cheap and finding the money to put yourself through college is not easy.

Many students are lucky and will have financial support from their parents or other family members, but this is not true in all cases. Indeed, even where this is the case it is not unreasonable to expect the student to make at least some sort of contribution and to become a participant in the process. This will generally mean a combination of working a part-time job while attending school and also taking out a student loan.

Getting the money together for college can be a daunting process because we are talking about possibly having to borrow substantial sums of money which may take years to repay. So, what you need is some sort of plan.

Before you rush out and commit yourself to any college loans you should sit down and answer the following questions:

1. What can I do today to prepare myself to meet the cost of a college education? For many students it is a good idea to take some time out before going up to college to get a little experience of life and this also means that you have the opportunity to do some paid work and put some money aside to help offset your education costs.

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2. Are their criteria which I need to meet in order to get financial support for my chosen course and, if so, what are they?

3. Does the school at which I will be studying provide its own “in house” financial support programs and, if so, am I eligible to apply for one or more of these?

4. What is the procedure for applying for financial support and what application forms do I need?

5. When should I apply for financial support? Are there specific deadlines which I have to meet and is there a “best time” to submit an application?

6. Will my parents need to give details of their financial situation in support of my application and will they be required to make a contribution towards the cost of my education for financial assistance to be approved?

7. What happens to the information which I, and possibly my parents, need to provide in support of an application?

8. What drawbacks are there to a particular loan? For example, will a particular loan preclude you from asking for additional loan funding from other sources?

9. Is there anything that I can do which will lower the amount of money I need to borrow but still allow me to attend the school I have chosen?

10. Are there things that I can do once at college which will allow me to cut costs and so reduce the amount I need to borrow up front?

11. Will I be able to work while attending college and, if so, what sort of work is available and what can I expect to earn?

12. What impact will the money that I am considering borrowing now have on my life once I have left college?

This is a long list of questions but it is vital that you sit down and think about them carefully when you are drawing up your plan to finance your college education. This is going to be the biggest investment you have made in your life to date and, if you get it wrong, you will have a millstone around your neck for many years to come. However, if you get it right, your life at college will be a whole lot easier and you will be able to start your working life on a sound footing with debt which you are able to manage comfortably.

By rahul